Moon Knight and Dead Boy Detectives

Thankfully, libraries have great comics collections these days. Sometimes I’ll go to my local one and pick up a few random Trade Paperbacks. There’s not necessarily an order to what’s on the shelves, but it’s a good opportunity to grab something I’ve been meaning to read for a while, or something that I’m curious about. My last two choices fall in to the latter category.

Moon Knight: Down South collects issues 26-30 which are the final issues of the 2006 series. I don’t know a lot about Moon Knight, and many compare him to the closest thing Marvel has to Batman, which is understandable.The character has been around since 1975 but has some things that set him apart from his fellow superheroes. Namely, his great white costume, the fact that he has multiple personalities (and secret identities!), and has  lunar/mystic theme to his identity and powers. I’ve read very little of the character, but I know the basics, but for anyone unfamiliar with Moon Knight, this will tell you what you need to know. Wiki will help too. There is a recap page which tells you about the events leading up to this, but essentially, MK is on the run and has “killed” one of his identities and is hiding out in Mexico.

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This was a surprisingly good read. Written by Mike Benson, and with art by Jefte Palo, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read. MK hardly appears in costume, until the end, and despite the cover, The Punisher only shows up for a few pages too. Most of this tale is focused on Jake Lockley and a job he’s been given, to rescue a Mexican land mogul’s daughter from some corrupt cops. Everyone isn’t who they seem, and the two luchadore brothers are  a great addition, and have real personalities. They could’ve been an annoying gimmick, but Benson makes them work, and Palo grants them great visuals, plus the amazing covers of the original issues by Gabriele Dell’otto are included here. (Mexican wrestling masks, Kevlar vests, and big guns). This is grim, bloody (but not overly so) and mature. There are a lot of adult themes and blanked out profanity here, but it’s all a great reminder that Moon Knight is an interesting character, as hopefully his latest series launch by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey will show when it debuts in March.

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Vertigo Previews

Despite the occasional rumour, DC’s long running imprint Vertigo is still alive. If you didn’t grab a free copy of the Vertigo Preview 2012 sampler from your local comic shop last week, then you can check out the  contents at the Vertigo blog.

There’s previews of the Fables spinoff Fairest, Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child, The New Deadwardians, and Saucer Country. All 4 series debut in March.

Extra Sequential Podcast #66-War

55 mins. War. What is it good for? We dive into the battlefield and how it’s been represented in comics of yesteryear and today.Plus, the wearing of shorts, head shapes and hammy thighs.

LISTEN TO IT HERE

DOWNLOAD IT HERE

GET IT ON ITUNES HERE

You can email us at kris (at)extrasequential(dot)com and befriend us on the NEW ES Facebook page.

1:17 NEWS

Neil Gaiman’s birthday

DC Comics licence plates

Cinebook publisher Olivier Cadic receives an Order of Merit

The new Asterix creative team

Akira film casting

7:13 THEME-WAR!

Frank Miller’s Holy Terror

Joe Sacco’s The Fixer

Vietnam set The Other Side, and Guerillas

Hans Von Hammer’s WW1 set tales in Enemy Ace

Sgt. Rock, DMZ, The ‘Nam, Semper Fi, Commando Comics, Nick Fury (whose Howling Commandos appear in the Captain America films)

The relaunched DC Comics’ Men of War series (that we didn’t mention!)

Transmetropolitan Art Book on Kickstarter

Yep, an official art book with the thumbs up, and participation, from the creators of the Vertigo series, Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson. Some avid fans have set up the art book goal on project funding website Kickstarter and have some impressive names lined up as artists, such as Joe Benitez, Dan Brereton, Sam Kieth, Jeff Lemire and many more.

The pledging will end on Valentine’s Day next year (that’s February 14) and so far they’ve raised almost half of their $26, 000 goal to print a few thousand copies of the hard bound book. Get more info here.

Light of the Meta Day

Traditionally the second issue of a new series drops dramatically in sales. I can testify to that. I have countless #1s sitting in boxes, and that’s because I always like to give a new series a chance. Occasionally a new series will tick the right boxes and I’ll follow it through. Lately, I’ve discovered 3 such series.

The Light, simply put is awesome. Nathan Edmondson (Olympus) and Brett Weldele (The Surrogates) are creating the best work of their careers. This 5 part mini-series from Image is just magnificent in its storytelling simplicity. The elevator pitch would be something along the lines of, “troubled father and daughter try to survive a mysterious virus within light sources that is brutally killing anyone who looks directly into…the light.” Each issue has been better than the last, and that’s a rarity within any new mini. Edmondson knows just how to throw the right story morsels at the reader, leaving them wanting more. In this 3rd ish (of 5) Coyle and his daughter Avery run into 2 armed brothers, who are filled with confidence and a cavalier attitude to the madness surrounding them, ie, people dropping dead and the safety of darkness. My first reaction was to expect some sort of disturbing backstabbing behaviour from the pair, but Edmondson presents them as a helpful duo (though that may change next issue). That and the startling transformation of some victims into walking torches, and the effect of the virus on local birdlife proves that The Light is far more than just a cool concept without any surprises. See a preview here and you can also grab the first 2 issues in one new, handy book.

Meta4 is another 5 ish mini from Image. From creator Ted McKeever it is enjoyably weird, like a David Lynch film. Trying to explain it after just one issue in easy to grasp terms is somewhat difficult, but I’m hooked already. His sketchy art style should appeal to fans of Sam Kieth and he uses black and white with the same skill that Frank Miller does in Sin City. McKeever also worked on 3 books for DC’s Elseworlds line that re-imagined Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman through the lens of classic German Expressionist films. Man, I gotta get my hands on those. Well, Meta4 (assumedly a reference to “metaphor” which descriptions of future issues indicates) centres on an amnesiac dressed as an astronaut  who wanders in to a petrol station, gets accosted by a grotesque hillbilly and then saved by a manly woman dressed as Santa, whose name is Gasolina. So weird, yes but strangely mesmerising too. McKeever could go anywhere from here, and his experiments with captions, and symbols as speech works a treat.

Daytripper from Vertigo is a 10 issue mini-series. If you like Demo, then this is for you. Created by Brazilian brothers Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba (who worked with Matt Fraction on Casanova), the series follows former obituary writer and novelist Bras de Oliva Domingos throughout his life at different ages. This issue he attempts to track down an old college friend who mysteriously vanished years ago. Like every issue in this series, it looks like a vibrant dream and is filled with unexpected emotion.

Now That’s a Good Cover

From Vertigo’s official blog comes this look at the last issue (#8) of Joe the Barbarian from Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy. JTB #5 is out this month, so it’ll be a while before we see the final issue on shelves, but that certainly is a nice cover.

Vertigo Covers

Now at Graphic Content, the official blog for Vertigo are a bunch of cool covers from upcoming issues. I’ve posted my faves below, including Daytripper, Hellblazer, Madame Xanadu and The Unwritten.

This Week’s Winners

Black Widow: Deadly Origin #2. Essentially this 4 ish mini is a simplified attempt at Black Widow: Year one, but it works. When Iron Man 2 debuts in May, with Scarlett Johansson as the Russian red headed spy, this will be a good place to start for those curious about the character. Paul Cornell manages to write an intriguing tale involving Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow and never allows the flashbacks to her youth to get distracting. Of course, with Tom Raney on the art in the current setting and John Paul Leon on art chores for the flashbacks, it makes for a book as pretty as its titular heroine. Guest stars such as Hawkeye and Winter Soldier never seem jarring and Cornell has a blast making Widow a 007-like action girl with a unique Russian background. I’ve already learned a great deal about this character whom I’ve only ever been marginally interested in, such as the fact that she’s one of many Widows trained by the Soviets and has a long lifespan. #2 throws in some Cold War antics, the activation of the Icepick Protocol and a cool White Widow variant suit.

Toy Story #0. Bringing writer Jesse Blaze Snider to play in BOOM!’s kids line of comics seems like an odd choice, but now I can see why they chose him. Snider’s last work was the surprisingly good Dead Romeo mini-series from DC and here he kicks a new four issue arc off with great skill. Nathan Watson’s art is cartoony, but solid. Of course, it can’t be easy to replicate the 3D magic of Pixar, but each character is instantly recognisable. Woody and Buzz steal the show of course, but the whole gang (from the first film where this issue looks to be set) is here. The amusing chaos begins when Andy receives a new present from his grandpa, but unfortunately it’s another Buzz Lightyear figure. The two Buzzes have a rather funny duel and the voices of every character rings true. It was much funnier than I expected, and is another fast paced and entertaining entry in the BOOM! Kids line. Snider proves his diverse skills as a writer here.

Daytripper #1. Those talented Brazilian siblings Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon launch a delightful new 10 ish series from Vertigo. It follows the life of an obituary writer in Sau Paulo who aims to be a disciplined novelist. Themes of family, life and death run through this issue, but never in a heavy handed manner. It’s quite enticing and very readable, with a magical quality to the art and a lyrical tone to the words. Where Ba and Moon go from the surprising ending will be even more intriguing I’m sure.

The Absolute Death

On sale October 14 from Vertigo is The Absolute Death – a 360 page oversized, slipcase hardcover for $99 collecting, well a bunch of stuff starring the popular Neil Gaiman character. Here’s all the info you need to know, plus Jeff Smith and Adam Hughes pin-ups from the gallery included in the hefty book.

Written by Neil Gaiman; Art by Mark Buckingham, Chris Bachalo, Jeffrey Jones, Dave McKean and Mark Pennington; Cover by Dave McKean

“The landmark comic-book series that actually made Death seem . . . cool.”

— ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY on THE SANDMAN

Absolute Death HCFrom the pages of Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman’s THE SANDMAN comes the young, pale, perky, fan-favorite character Death in a new Absolute Edition collecting her solo adventures! Featuring the miniseries DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING #1-3 in which Death befriends a teenager and helps a 250-year old homeless woman find her missing heart. Also included is the DEATH: THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE 3-issue miniseries featuring the story of a rising star in the music world wrestling with revealing her true sexual orientation just as her lover is lured into Death’s imminent realm. And enjoy a plethora of extras including the DEATH TALKS ABOUT LIFE AIDS pamphlet, stories from VERTIGO: WINTER’S EDGE #2 and THE SANDMAN: ENDLESS NIGHTS, the short story “The Wheel” from the 9-11 tribute book, SANDMAN #8 and #20 and extras from the DEATH GALLERY one-shot along with an intro from Amanda Palmer, the lead singer of the hit musical group The Dresden Dolls! It’s all combined right here for the first time in one volume. This Absolute Edition slipcased hardcover is also the perfect companion for THE ABSOLUTE SANDMAN and ideal for fans of Gaiman’s sprawling, intimate comics work!

Jeff Smith DeathAdam Hughes Death

Vertigo and Wildstorm Blogs

It’s awesome that DC Comics finally have a blog, called The Source. It’s not exactly a barrage of news but it makes up for it with almost daily previews of projects days, weeks or months away. Now, two of DC’s imprints also have their own dedicated blogs. The Bleed belongs to Wildstorm and it kicked off with the news that Planetary #27 would be the series’ last, produced by its creators Warren Ellis and John Cassady.

Vertigo’s blog, Graphic Content launches with an excerpt from October’s Fables novel. Peter and Max is written by the writer of the series, Bill Willingham with art by Steve Leiahola. Also on Graphic Content are  a few pages from DMZ #42, which is now on sale. This begins a new 3 part story entitled No Future, and is brought to us by writer Brian Wood and artist Ryan Kelly. Pics below.

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Jeff Lemire’s The Nobody Trailer

Creator Jeff Lemire is a great new talent. Anyone who’s read his Essex County trilogy from Top Shelf will tell you that. All three books were moving and powerful. His new book, out on July 1 from Vertigo is inspired by the classic novel, The Invisible Man by H.G Wells. Press release and trailer below.

The tiny, isolated fishing village of Large Mouth never saw much excitement — until the arrival of the stranger, that is. Wrapped from head to toe in bandages and wearing weird goggles, he quietly took up residence in the sleepy town’s motel. Driven by curiosity, the townfolk quickly learn the tragic story of his past, and of the terrible accident that left him horribly disfigured. Eventually, the town embraces the stranger as one of their own — but do his bandages hide more than just scars?

Inspired by H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, THE NOBODY explores themes of identity, fear and paranoia in a small community from up-and-coming alternative comics creator and Xeric Award-winner Jeff Lemire (The Essex County Trilogy) in a special two-color story that’ll have you guessing until the very end.

   * Vertigo
   * 144pg.
   * B&W
   * Hardcover
   * $19.99 US
   * ISBN 9781401220808
   * Mature Readers


The Unwritten Stuff

The Unwritten #1This new series from the Lucifer team of Mike Carey and Peter Gross is different in a number of ways. Firstly it stands out from the other “Un” series launching this month (Unknown and Unthinkable from BOOM! Studios) by being bigger. Not bigger in format, but bigger in its story and by its very approach to the concept of storytelling. This debut issue has extra story pages, so you can feel a little heft when picking it up from the shelf. It’s also only $1! Thanks Vertigo/DC. They’ve had success with similar cheap launches, such as the After Watchmen…What’s Next? series of re-prints. This is a wise marketing move, and will only help give this series the attention it deserves.

So ,what’s it all about then? Imagine Harry Potter was real. That’s the basic premise. Of course, it’s not as straightforward as that, but basically Tom Taylor is a grown man trying to live away from the shadow of the fictional boy wizard Tommy Taylor, the hero of a series of much loved books by Tom’s father, who has been missing for a decade. It’s a very well constructed first issue and barrels along at a nice pace. It takes itself seriously but isn’t melodramatic about it. With clever use of web-site comments, news casts and journal excerpts it becomes obvious that this creative duo have thought long and hard about the story they’re building.  There’s an insightful interview with the creators at Broken Frontier and you can also find Carey’s commentary on the issue at the same site.

If you’re looking for something fresh, with just enough nods to pop culture to make you feel smart, then pick up this ish.

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